Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Common Sense Marriage

The statistics are daunting. We constantly hear that half of all marriages end in divorce. I don’t even think it’s alarming any more. It’s just a given.

But, as Ted Lowe of MarriedPeople recently said, “I don’t believe that a marriage is supposed to be a statistic.”

So, how do we prevent the “good marriages” from becoming a divorce statistic? The answers are probably simpler than you think. At the end of the day, it’s all about common sense, which is likely to yield some pretty uncommon results.

1. Treat your spouse the way you want to be treated. Talk to him or her with love and respect. If you hate to be talked to sarcastically, chances are your spouse doesn’t care for it either. This doesn’t mean you have to use dignified or formal vocabulary. It’s all about the attitude of the heart.

2. “Cheat work” with your spouse, not the other way around. Striking a balance between your home life and your career is a challenge. However, few people, if any, ever regret cheating their work by spending more time with their families. On the other hand, the world is full of spouses who regret cheating their families by working 70-80+ hours per week, and missing important family events, ball games, etc.

3. Put the cell phone or computer away – especially during “alone time.” It’s bad enough if you work an extra 20-30 hours at the office. But, bringing your work home, and constantly checking your emails and texts from business associates may be just as troublesome. How do YOU feel when you are with someone who is always checking their phone, and won’t give you the attention you desire? It’s disheartening, and you likely don’t want to spend much time with that person in the future. Why should your marriage be any different?

4. Have fun. When you got married, did you think you would lead a dull, disconnected, aggravating life with your spouse? If you did, you wouldn’t have married them! So, rekindle the flames by making it a point to have a good time with your spouse. Stale marriages lack laughter and excitement. Go places, laugh, be merry, and show your spouse exactly how much you truly enjoy being with them!

5. Make your spouse the only “man” or “woman” in your life. We have a rule here at my office – men and women cannot ride in the same car alone, and they cannot be in the same office alone with a door shut. Sound a tad extreme? To some it may seem silly, but why ever put yourself in a compromising situation? Affairs rarely, if ever, happen in an instant. They usually evolve over time, and after several instances of spending time alone together. If you avoid the first time being alone with a member of the opposite sex, you won’t ever get to that dangerous fourth or fifth time. Put strict – and safe – guidelines in place now to avoid having a devastating crash later.

6. Do it because you love him/her. Does the house need to be vacuumed? Trash need to be taken out? Crumbs on the floor need to be swept up? Often, we’ll see things that need to be done, and grumble against our spouse. We do it so we can hold it over their heads, or so we won’t get yelled at. But, one man recently told me about a similar issue at his house. “I walked into the kitchen and saw all the dirty dishes in the sink. So, I went over and I washed them. And, I didn’t do it so I wouldn’t have to hear her complain about it. I did it so she wouldn’t have to clean them herself.”

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